Gov. Rick Scott spent Monday morning co-hosting CNBC’s Squawk Box and generally stuck to his economic talking points, though there was also lighter discussion of Disney World, college football and Austrian space jumper.
“People know it’s all about the economy,” Scott said, discussing the presidential election. “I think they can see a difference between what the federal government’s doing and what we’re doing” in Florida.
Scott was comfortable in his role as Florida’s pitchman, at one time giving out his phone number and telling business owners to “call me.”
"We’ve cut property taxes, we’ve cut business taxes, we’ve cut 2,000 regulations,” he said. “We’ve streamlined the permitting process.”
He then compared Florida’s record to that of the federal government, which he said has made it tougher on businesses to thrive.
Scott mentioned the bright spots of Florida’s economy—job growth in August, declining unemployment rate, a brightening outlook that is at odds with Gov. Mitt Romney's portrayal of the state.
Despite the fact that Florida has a lower growth rate than 24 other states and is creating jobs more slowly than the national average, Scott painted a picture of a Florida that is a national leader in job growth. (Florida’s unemployment rate decline is besting other states, but not because of stellar job growth. Many people have left a labor market that is worst in the country for long-term unemployment.
At the end of the his hour on set, Scott said, “Jobs are coming back (in Florida) faster than other places. It’s Texas and Florida that are the two fastest growing states,” a statement that flies in the face of most objective data. Florida is ranked 25th in the nation with a 1.1 percent growth rate over the last year, compared to 1.4 percent in the U.S.
Scott may have cherry-picked the month of August, when Florida gained 23,200 jobs, second only to Texas. But even that would not be the second-fastest growth rate, because some smaller states grew jobs faster, per capita, than Florida did in August.
Because of Florida’s large population, it can boast of greater total number of jobs, while growing more slowly than smaller states with more impressive growth rates.
For example, Florida’s monthly growth rate was 0.3 percent in August, when 23,200 jobs were created. North Dakota only created 1,700 jobs in August, but because of its small population, those 1,700 jobs constituted a faster growth rate (0.4 percent) than Florida.
In the second half of the show, University of Florida president Bernie Machen joined the set to talk about the effort to make Florida more friendly to technology companies.
Scott talked about putting money into science, technology, engineering and math as a way to help establish a talent pool within Florida and draw more companies to set up shop in the Sunshine State.